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By the Light of the Northern Star

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  • The Faroe Islands. Harsh, windswept, desolate. A frozen, treeless group of rocks jutting from the North Atlantic. A place not meant to be inhabited by man or beast. And then along came…

    THE VIKINGS!!!!!!!

    No mere humans. People left the beauty of Norway and sailed to new lands, not for adventure, but to provide for their families, to survive. The Faroe Islands were but a pit stop on the way to better lands, Iceland, Greenland, Vinland! But over a thousand years later the Vikings still inhabit the Faroe Islands. The true Vikings, the real Vikings, are still alive today and they are known to the world musically because of this group of men. This group of incredibly gifted men who call themselves TYR! All Hail the Mighty TYR!

    Vikings and Metal were always meant to be together. There is a group of bands that blend the two and stand tall above all others. Amon Amarth. Ensiferum. Wintersun. Einherjer. Enslaved. Moonsorrow. Unleashed. TYR not only stands with these giants but surpasses all of them in authenticity.

    The language of the Faroe Islands is Faroese. It IS Old Norse. It IS what the Norsemen spoke over a thousand years ago. It IS the language of the Viking and only TYR presents music in this language. The stories passed down from generation to generation in spoken form and song are preserved and translated through modern, epic, progressive metal. There is no one like TYR. Their sound is unique and genre defining. For those who have followed and admire this band you know this to be true. I don’t have to convince you. It is for those who are new to the band or the genre that I say all of this. Listen to this band. Listen to ALL of their albums. How Far to Asgaard. Eric the Red. Ragnarok. Land. By the Light of the Northern Star. All equal. All epic.

    It is difficult to judge which album in a bands catalog is the best when all of their albums are good. It is usually easier to pick out the worst (St. Anger, Chinese Democracy, etc.). Again, this is nearly impossible for TYR. Right now By the Light if the Northern Star is my favorite. That may change over time but it is really that good. I say this particularly because of one song. Hold the Heathen Hammer High. As most TYR fans would probably agree, TYR has had an unofficial anthem since the beginning. That song was, and is, Hail to the Hammer, track 1 on How Far to Asgaard. It was the first song I heard by TYR. It passionately describes the ancient Norse, their struggles, their calls to Thor to guide them through their troubles all in 4:34. To me, though a completely different type of song, Hold the Heathen Hammer High is their next great anthem. It celebrates the pagan life, the pagan way. It is one of their best ever.

    I have thousands of songs by hundreds of artists in every genre of metal you can think of. There are standout bands in every category who not only produce quality album after quality album but who define their genre. TYR is one of those bands. Please give them a try. I sincerely believe you will come away impressed.

    There are no throw away tracks on this album but the following are my current favorites:

    Hold the Heathen Hammer High
    Into the Storm
    Turið Torkilsdóttir
    By the Sword in My Hand
    Hear the Heathen Call

    oh, and it would be terrible if I forgot to mention TYR has THE BEST album art I have ever seen. Period.

    Posted on January 18, 2010